Dr Mo Dewji, DoH national clinical lead for primary care and NHS Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention, said rumours were circulating in the NHS that a new contract would be introduced by April.
But he told the Primary Care Live conference in London last week the rumours were untrue.
He said instead that contract changes should not be rushed through. ‘The one thing we have all got to get into a discussion about is what should primary care be about in 2015, rather than having a contract that then dictates what primary care is about,’ he said.
GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey agreed that a new contract by April was unlikely. He said discussions about a new contract were yet to begin.
But Dr Vautrey said he could not say when there might be a new GP contract. The ball was ‘in the government’s court’, he said. Dr Vautrey added: ‘The White Paper actually says that there will be a new contract "over time".
‘So even within the White Paper there is the suggestion that this is not an immediate aspiration of the government,’ he said.
But Dr Shane Gordon, a GP and chief executive of Colchester PBC group, said if a new contract was not agreed in a 'reasonable timescale' then this would impact on when the rest of the White Paper proposals could be delivered.
‘I think the White Paper has engineered the BMA into a very strong position in the negotiation here,’ he added.
‘If we don’t agree the new GP contract in a reasonable timescale, then actually the rest of the timetable falls over. I think that hasn’t quite been thought through.’